Chocolate Christmas Cake
Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling
Cooking time: 1¾ -2 hours
150g (5oz) soft butter
150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (6½oz) self-raising flour
40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
400g jar of luxury mincemeat
80g (3oz) each of sultanas and raisins
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
100g packet of white chocolate chips
For decoration (decorate as you wish!)
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/electric 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Line a 20cm (8inch) cake tin (see below for instructions).
Lining the cake tin: One of the keys to success when baking a fruit cake is the preparation of the tin before you start mixing the ingredients. Because of the length of cooking time, you need to use two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment inside the tin.
Lightly butter the inside of the tin.Cut out a strip of paper about 2.5cm (1inch) longer than the outside of the tin and 5 cm (2inches) wider. (Measure using a piece of string).Fold in about 2 cm (¾ inch) along the long edge of the strip. Then make diagonal cuts along the folded edge at 2.5 cm (1inch) intervals.Fit the long strip of paper inside the tin with the folded edge sitting flat on the base. If you have a square tin fit the paper tightly into the corners. Place the tin on two sheets of greaseproof paper of baking parchment and draw around the base of the tin. Cut two pieces of paper to fit snugly into the base of the tin. Before baking, tie some thick brown paper or newspaper, which comes above the tin by about 10cm (4inches), around the edge of the tin.
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat together for a minute or two until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1¾-2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. You will probably need to cover the cake with foil towards the end of cooking to prevent the top from browning too much. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate as you wish! Below are some ideas:
Ready to Roll fondant is readily available for most of us and it’s actually quite easy to apply to your cake. Just melt a little jam in a small pan, and brush over the surface of your cake. Lift the icing sheet onto the top of the cake and, working down from the top, smooth out any wrinkles. Press the icing into the edges where the cake meets the board or plate and, using a sharp knife, trim neatly around the bottom. Now your cake is ready for stick-on models, fondat cut out star or snowflakes, or a simple ribbon and candle! (My cake I decorated with white fondant, dyed with cocoa powder and ready-made white chocolate snowflakes and edible gold glitter.)
Royal Icing for a Snow Effect:
For a rough 'snow' scene for a 7 inch (18 cm) square or an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake
1 lb 2 oz (500 g) icing sugar, sifted
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon glycerine
Place the egg whites in a bowl, then stir in the icing sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the icing falls thickly from the spoon. At this stage, stop adding any more sugar and whisk with an electric whisk for 10 minutes or until the icing stands up in stiff peaks, then stir in the glycerine.Now spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake as evenly as possible using a palette knife. Switch to a broad-bladed knife (or smaller palette knife) to 'spike' the icing all over to give a snow-scene effect. Leave the cake overnight for the icing to dry out before placing it in a container till needed. Then place your little robin, Father Christmas or just a sprig of holly in the centre of the cake.
Chocolate Christmas Cake